I just found again this video and got instantly hooked by it again. It struck as a very true fact of our business life: going to to office can sometimes get in the way of working.
So it got me thinking that maybe this also happens in the learning process for adults. I can speak to my own experience as a student. I love going to classes because I love to have the opportunity to get my questions answered immediately, I love the opportunity of debating and listening to other people’s outlook.
But I hate to do actual study work in the classroom. I’d be so much more comfortable at home or even in a Café, where I can have something to drink, sit in a comfortable chair etc. You get the idea. Also, if I am near a computer, I can instantly look for references to feed my mind and be ready to ask the actual questions.
So why is that we try to squeeze all of learning into these face-to-face events? Why is it that we try to reproduce these face-to-face events, ignoring a greater part of the richness of the interaction in favor of simple lectures into the online learning environment? I am thinking here of simple online WBTs, which try to replace classes that were ineffective in the first place.
We have tools to have the absolute best of all worlds, if we choose to use them. I vote for not being afraid of the term PRE-WORK. I vote for making an effort to having the basic information, with a pedagogical approach, available for students online. I vote for instructing students on which materials to look for, in what preferred order. And then having face-to-face forums, where people can ask their questions and make progress quickly.
That’s the richness of being together in the same room: it’s the ideas that come up after listening to colleagues, it’s the planning for the next steps and debating of approaches. But students also need to be ready to enter this room, otherwise the whole class is forced to waste time while a few stragglers catch up.
Learning is also about personal responsibility for adults. You can’t just force learning on someone who isn’t interested. So what does this mean for us, learning professionals?
The dream: to completely redo the curriculum available for students of any subject and bring the content assets into a dynamic learning environment, in which people not only can easily search for content, but also interact with tutors, teachers and, of course, each other. Then, periodically, they would meet – either in person or virtually – with their teacher and fellow students. I personally like constant testing and exercises for longer subjects, but when we are dealing with simpler, shorter content from your usual corporate university, one test should be enough.
I realize that none of this is breaking news. It just bothers me that most of us know this and still we are unable to make it work. Either we are stuck with old ways which would be too costly to change, or we have trouble getting the right management support for structural changes.
Sometimes we see new companies starting out with ideas which we know are outdated, but still we persist. How can you, me, and everyone get the change started?